tv After Words with Brian Merchant CSPAN July 8, 2017 10:01pm-11:02pm EDT
>> up next on afterwards, brian merchant talks about "the one device." he is interviewed by steve lohr. >> brian, i read your book in a fascinating way. it is two creation stories. one is the apple team, the turmoil they went to to what ends up as the creation of the iphone in 2007. the other is the history of the creation of each one of the technologies and those two stories are knitted together. why did you take that approach? just take us back to the start of the book project itself. >> yeah, well, so the idea for the book really kind of began with the stark realization of
the thing that integrated into my life and the life of my peers was something i really didn't understand particularly well. i, you know, a lot of us have that moment, i think, when we are abruptly and suddenly forced to go without it. i lost it in this case; left it in a cab. when i was retrieving the phone i was standing in line at the dmv and of course, i immediately put off the meetings at work and any other obligation. you just get your gone back. that is what you do when you lose your phone. it started gelling in my head. what is it about this one device that gives it this power? there is very little else i can imagine being forced to do such a thing. and as i sort of resolved the kind of digging into this and pealing off screen and seeing it
more as just a consumer product i sort of started to realize there were there stories. there was the history of the phone and how it was developed at apple. that was carefully guarded by apple and the corporation. the other side of the story might have more work than a steve jobs keynote presentation. then, you know, in parallel to that there is a story of how any technology has to develop and that requires much more vast time lines and more input and complexity. we kind of wanted to look at both of them in tandem and see how one pulls from the other. in a way the chapters not about apple are about the development of this sort of technological
buffet line. apple has been able to come along saying we want that and this. we want multi touch, and we will use this lithium battery and this arm chip that uses very little energy but is also a formidable processor and then there is the story of how they integrated each of those people which is the story of apple and i try to tell both. >> moderator: earlier on there is a moment of epiphany. you get your phone and it is torn apart. explain that. >> guest: that moment came early on. one of the first things i did was look at this phone, which is, you know, all screen, and say the first step is to find out what is actually in this thing. i took it to i fixed it which is
this company in san luis obispo. it is a refurbished car dealership. it is a cool place. a great staff there. and their mission is to kind of keep gadgets repairable and keep transparency about what is inside them. what apple wants to do is make us think of this thing as only they can provide, only they can fix, only they can have the power to sell, market and put into the after market. these guys are like this is something you buy yourself. this is an object that can be fixed or tweaked if you desire. i took it to them. they are skilled repair and breakdown technicians. the guy was called a tear down engineer which is great job title if i have ever seen one.
we started walking me through and said you have to be careful for the cables on top buzz they are connected to the censor. once the screen is off you are looking at a sea of guts and the battery is half the real estate and then you can start leafing through and this whole world opens up. that was the moment that really sort of set-up an epiphany you are talking about. >> what is the pent alobe? >> it is a signature screw. apple doesn't want just anybody
to open up. it was a classic steve jobs mantra. he was quoting saying we don't want to let people into our stuff because they will just mess it up. it will just give them an opportunity to screw it up. that has sort of been instilled into apple's design process process everything since. it works nicely with the compact, small sealed up. but the pent a lobe and you cannot just go to your work bench and get a screw driver and open up the phone. even though you bought it. you have to track down this custom tool that is small enough to get these little screws so you can open it up. it sends the message it takes someone trained and skilled. this isn't for everybody.
they are trying to indirectly maybe install this idea it is to be upgraded every year and not to be fixed or tampered with. it does say a lot about apple, i think. >> more broadly, you run out themes in here and one of them is the myth of the loan adventure this goes back to isaac newton in the 17th century that i see further than others only because i stood in the shoulders of giants. but the case you make in the book with scrupulus reporting is this is particularly true for a product like the iphone. elaborate on that point a bit. and some of this -- well it is
sedimentary layers that build on each other. part of why this took off as it did is the timing of all these things coming together; right? and apple putting them together. help me out and help us out with, you know, what so striking in the complexity of this product. >> yeah, so i fully believe that is one of the most important thems in the book. in this case, in the case of apple and particularly steve jobs who led apple, that myth of the lone inventor resonated powerfully. it is compelling narrative and useful for marketing a product. if you have somebody who is charismatic, very smart, someone
like steve jobs can come sell the product and forever be associated with it when that is a shade of the story. he was hands on and had a lot to do with it. but the truth is like even the i-phone as far as it was developed at apple never would have happened without scores of people working around the clock to make it happen. and that is the deeper trend lines we are talking about with all the prior technologies. steve jobs is a commanding presence and it is easy for us to process that. this guy handed it it down and now we have the iphone. but exploring these stories is
so important because not just on the scale of the breakthroughs apple managed to do which is they did further the art in a lot of important ways. on the engineering side they managed to get multi touch which allows us to swipe and zoom and do the hand vocabulary that translates into the computing and they managed to get it on glass in a way that hasn't been done. they did amazing work designing this human interface that makes the iphone what the iphone is. it is called the jingle of the i-phone and it is what makes it memorable and it is the experience. the little rubbing banding
effect. >> you didn't have to talk about it. all the things coming together and everything else is at at point so those little elements where apple poured its heart and soul into further that part and and apple does deserve credit for that. this crew of guys called had irony team started experimenting in the free wheeling research. it was fun and wild. they had this crazy projection
they were using to hack products together to what would become the iphone and steve jobs had nothing to do with that from the beginning. once he saw it in a form that was convincing enough and the demos were good enough they convinced him to take it up. so the invention comes from so many sources and it is important to trace the different origin stories. >> i think the swipe and so forth is the defining thing people see. this guy wane westerman who you do describe and his saga. tell us that story. it comes from elsewhere. >> multi touch technology, i did
try to trace it as far back as i could go and visited stern. >> '60s and before. >> this guy name ben stump -- >> great name. >> great name and a great pioneer in touch technology. that was a fun antidote. some of the first touch technology was a stone throw away from the development of the web. the iphone integrates web and touch technology so you can touch maps online and move through pictures and it just got swept up into the stream of technology that would wind up
later. but the guy who put it on the table was wane westerman who was this brilliant engineer from inmid -- the midwest and comes from a family plagued by disability. he had severe hand disabilities. when he was a phd student dissertation and we could he could not write and he had to stop. he looked around at the market to see if there was any alternatives to these hard keyboards which at the time were more cumbersome and there were not any. he trained some of the algorithms to try to start recognizing gestures and swiping. pretty soon he came up with a pad that let him write the dissertation and seemed like a good alternative for people who had this problem with their hands. instead of always typing it was
a lighter touch and you could do a lot of things with swiping and gestures and the vocabulary was a lot larger than what we can do with the iphone today. he started manufacturing this product called finger works and it was beloved by a small number of users. people with strained injuries liked it. editors, music software users, people who were kind of thought it was cool you could swipe and do little gestures and it was an opaque black pad you would use next to your mouse or keyboard. it wasn't on a screen yet. a junior engineer at apple happened to bring one in and the guys i mentioned earlier who were bringing this free wheeling experimentation, these junior engineers, said what is that? that looks interesting.
that literally became the focal point for their experiments and that was under the projector when they wheeled in a projector screen to combine the touch sensing unit. they put a piece of paper over it and beamed down the home screen of a mac at the time so you could touch the mac software and that was what really sparked the entire trajectory of the iphone. >> and his mother had chronic back pain as well and he had a history of knowing this and then it is the university of delaware. it is not stanford. it is really kind of cool. >> that was one of my favorite stories to drudge up. he is still at apple so i could not interview him on the record because he is behind the titanum curtain as they say. but i was able to get in touch
with his sister who told the family's back story and it was fascinating. it is one of those store as that, you know, of overcoming adversity to sort of produce something that ends up helping a lot of people. this is not even just the i-phone now. it is the same basic technology in antroid and it is informing the laj wj -- language of computers. >> i will just read a paragraph and ask you to elaborate. this is bolivia. frederico is the name of the mountain. >> fa >> fascinating details. they ruled the spanish empire for hundreds of years. some 60% of the silver was pulled out of the area but then the mining bloom turned into one of the biggest cities in the world. 160,000 people.
local natives, african slaves and spanish settlers living there making the investor hub larger than london at the time. more came and the mountain swallowed many of them. between 4-8 million people have believed to have perished there. you go down there for what reason? >> well, it out that apple sources some of its tin from this mine that used to bank roll the spanish empire thousands of years ago. the same place which was incredible. apple listed suppliers, where it sources and the suppliers get their metals and one of these is, you know, sourcing metal from this mountain. tin mostly comes from there and the tin is used in sodder --
solder. it is fascinating to me this cutting-edge device and thing that is integral to how we think of modern moments is rooted in the same mine sadly by children sometimes with hand axes like pulled out of the rock. it is easy to disconnect these two ideas. the product to its origin as stuff that comes out of the earth. i thought it was important to spend a chapter looking at where it really begins in a physical sense not just a, you know, the sense of its history, but where the actual physical material comes from. it is not just bolivia and it isn't just tin. it is the cobalt for the batteries. it is the lithium which is one
of the more benignly mined materials but has drawbacks still and that was in nearby chile where they mine lithium in one of the driest deserts on earth. there are materials being pulled from every continent on earth and they all feed into the iphone. >> >> and you did an all-in exercise about how much mind if you will and how much of the earth and water is used to produce the x-number of iphones we have. refresh my memory. this came out and it was a big number. >> it is a lot. it is -- i mean -- >> you have to tear up a lot of ground to get a little bit. >> it is something like 75 kilos for over tiny 129 gram i-phone. you are moving a lot of earth
just to do that and that means you are using a lot of, you know, toxic chemicals and we focused on the cyanide because it is used to extract gold. you are producing all these by products. for every single one of these it is an exponential amount of earth that is mined. and since i published that part, i looked and there have been other estimates that are worse and his was on the conservative side. so basically, you know, if you are thinking about getting the aluminum out of the earth, you have to huge industrial operations in australia. to get the gold, you are drenching in cyanide to remove this tough stuff. the tin is coming from loosely knit mining structures. there is all these different feed ins. we have having a big impact on
the planet by creating these small sleinsulined -- slender devices. >> how many miles did you log? did you do a rough calculation? >> i didn't but i should. you know, i should track and look at the iphones gps tracker. >> let's go to china. you did visit this plant where these things were made and you got in. you are one of the few people to have done that. this guy, mike daisy who wrote a play posed just as a contractor and there was appear opening. tell us that story. >> well, i have got to give the credit to my fixer, my translator, who is a journalist in shanghai. we were just -- i think we were kind of imposing because we had
tried through the sort of above board channels all day. we had tried to get in and interviewing people at the gates and all-arou around. we even met a floor manager who manages an operation who said they would not mind taking us on butia need executive approval. we burned all day trying to do interviews to get in outside the gate >> coffee shops and noodle places >> exactly. there is sidewalks outside and a structure you can walk over. >> give us the dimensions. this is x number of football fields? >> from the outside, it is deceptive. it seems like -- it is all
walled off and the wall goes on as far as you can see. there are buildings looking up over it and what happened after trying to get in all day i had to use the bathroom legitimately. the idea was like you know, what, maybe some genuine urgency and it translated. there was a bathroom we could see and my translator was like we will come right back. >> and nobody tailed you? >> not that we know of because we literally ran after getting into the bathroom. i ducked around and we just ran and we were in. once you are in, it really sinks in, it feels like a city. we kept walking one direction until we hit the end. it is kind of dilapidated, the building and things are rusty. it is kind of like the docks at the edge of the city and people
are playing a pickup game of basketball and it looks like a minor chemical spill with cones around it and no one tending to it. it is really just kind of feeling rough. we turned around and started walking in. in this regard, this place was filled with almost half a million people. towering dorms, giant factory blocks, you really just get the sense you are just this tinaly, little, you know, insignificant sort of piece of organic matter navigating this huge giant machine of industry. but like a city, you know, it kind of became more gentrified and con dendense. closer to downtown you get commerce with a 7-eleven inside and one of those mascot things. >> and age range of the people
is what? >> 18-25. >> this is like, you know, the new england textile factories in america. 16-22-year-old women. >> it is that kind of system. >> yeah, done by hand. it is all done by hand and it is all, well not all, but largely people who come from rural areas to send money back home and they become skilled workers and most of them don't last all that long there. a lot of people say you can only tick it for a year. plan was to work there a year, get a new job, get out and some of them that i interviewed said they were offered management positions or raises and they just said it was too ugly. the management culture was too
ugly. i sort of felt that. this place, you know, was immense on one scale but the more striking thing was there was nothing in the entire city sized factory that was designed to sort of cater to the human spirit. it was all either you are working in a factory, you are paying to eat in the cafeteria, you are paying to shop at 7-eleven. there is no nice public area. it is all designed to squeeze the maximum value out of person as possible. and meanwhile, you are wedged between a giant gray factory blocks and it it is something i can only limit to my one drive.
i spent an hour and an hour and a half inside there. i can't say i really -- you know, there is another side to this, too. >> you know, it used to be there were ten applicants for every job available. everything you say true by our standards. it is also there is an element to how much it is creating opportunity. right? however grim it may be. apple has done things on this front in terms of disclosure. elaborate on that.
so there have to be ways to am l as this -- this huge most valuable company on planet had this giant of the industry can wield its influence to get things to a better place. >> and you've dealt with labor group and so forth so, i mean, is there a suggestion or two that comes to mind that makes sense to you? >> well, or, i mean -- >> was this is mache of the tradeoff is that these reasonable is to consider. >> right. yeah. so or there a bunch of standards that -- you know, after this fallout apple sort of joined this sort of business -- this best practice of and right now the biggest critique from china labor watch is they haven't kept their basic promises. if they were to do what they said they were going to do, guarantee limiting overtime hours and making certain you know confession to workers that
would go a great deal and make sure there's things yongd that that they would like to see so absolutely. it is absolutely a tradeoff. i mean, people are coming from, you know, poor parts of china to work here for a reason because there's some opportunity. yeah. >> you know, you've don't cost on environmental side, human toll where it's, you know -- certain but this looks more, more severe toll if you will -- or you know, or the tradeoff looks particularly rough from our perspective. but, i mean, way you come out on this you use an iphone and that is gold standard, and you know -- who knows with the samsung. >> exactly. that's the other really important point i'm using kind of as a loans to view the way the industry works right now. apple has more power than most because it has more resources more capital and more influence. but -- this is yeah samsung it which i
haven't investigated prnlly but i'm sure it is a similar story. yeah, you know, i -- i personally feel like i would like to do more with the fair phone that really kind of is this great -- project. j yeah, yeah, no. it's this projects and it's actual phone they strive to get components from ethically sourced part from places they try to go down the supply chain if they're like hey, you know, this is possible. if you know we can make an ethically built phone. and that's a science project at this stage or actually you can buy one. j you can buy one. it is, i mean there are complaints that it is not quite up to par with with apple user experience and whatnot. android phone. >> et cetera. yeah. and you know, i do use an iphone and i think it's important to understand the full story and -- you know, i think that we can all do a little bit more of both
to pressure apple to improve some of these things, and to sort of just rid a little bit of awareness about it. >> let's go to any kind of a high end -- job-producing product in america and well-paying manufacturing job now in the southern part of the country. but some -- elmira region in new york, and this is -- it is, you know, it the face of everything that you've got. i mean, i everybody uses it. it's all but a monopolist and american home grown are from this little place in -- you know, up in not farm from upstate new york and kept chugging away at it. it was, you know --
and stuff they -- it also speaks to you're kind of chain of progression with whatever it was where for -- because it worked well many a microwave back in the exit and had this pet project going all of the time. tell us that story bos it has a unique one. >> corning which had is, you know -- old american company classic american company with glass maker -- had assembled mid-industry to this by accident one of their engineers had this mishap where -- he, you know, in turn oven on to sew how high when he was doing this experiment with lithium i think don't quote me on that. but it came out and it's this -- hard sort of -- we're talking about hundreds -- several hundreds, thousands with the temperature. across of a volcano. [laughter] so setting too high on the microwave, no it was industrial
oven and it came out and it was this milky, white -- glass that when he pulled it out of the -- with tongs it fell to the floor and just kind of -- >> there are eureka moments so -- they happen, you know, most amp by accident that's the funny thing about eureka moments when they do happen they're kind of -- mistakes but you know, he pulled it out. thing bounced and you know this is interesting went on it to use this material -- for corningware which was used both in sort of like the nose cone of missiles. [laughter] as well as the for dishware and casserole to statistically into the microwave which come on to the scene it was sort of a perfect -- one ever those things where two products sort of help profell each other. so, you know, if you're old enough you might remember like yods.
believe me -- [laughter] those white with blue little flower on it. i remember being served casserole in this thing, and they are microwave friendly and they're pretty indestructible so that inspired corning to move beyond that and say okay well now this is cool. but we're a glass company what it if we can make glass that was this strong that we could see there? so they launched something called project muscle which was this effort to exactly that. and they, you know, experimented, worked around the clock before and this was the case where they were just doing it for the sake of doing it. they didn't have ideal product in mind for what they wanted to do so all sorts of fun stories about how they're testing it. they're, you know, throwing it off the roof and form, you know they have sheets of it and for some reason they were throwing frozen chicken down on to it
from the roof and holding glass below and they said okay we've got this really strong, really cool stuff. now, what are we going to do with it so it held a dem employee in new york city and they said look, it is unbreakable it is this stuff is amazing so come to us companies and buy it from us and do -- you know all kiengdz of stuff. they have a few cases they put together they were thinking jails might want to use them as, you know -- windows that people couldn't break through, or maybe -- telephone booths. but one of the few things that they actually did get him into the was the javelin carter for windshields that were shattered proof. but -- it turns they were too strong because they have problems when people get into crashes and ram their heads into them you could really -- >> don't want it to shatter -- you know, crash are that that came out worse for theware so it never got adopted there, and
they really couldn't find a use for it and shut down the project for decades they have this technology. they had the know how but not a use case. fast forward to about -- you know, 2006, 2007 steve jobs suddenly decides that plastic screen on the iphone isn't going to cut it. famously kind of pulled it out in this meeting with a bunch of scratch marks where keys dented up the surface, and he said we've got to fix this. like, what can we do? so apple launched internally this sort of dash effort to, you know -- try other hand at material science and create shatter proof glass didn't amount to much. one executive friend salas, i know this guy -- you know ceo of corning, jobs flew over and met with him, and
he told him about it this secret project that had along with for decades and we'll take all what you have got, and it's been a classic sort of -- jobs in moments where he's like no you can do it and you will do it for me and no assembly line and no production, yet to scale for the stuff. >> before that we set him up to explain. let me explain science to you it wasn't about the production but it was about the -- thing itself. whatever was. >> at this classic habit of sort of, you know, being the smart et cetera guy in the room and told him i don't think it is going to work for us but we need glass work like this and talking to the ceo of a glass company who kind of stood up and said actually -- according to loe said let me teach you science and went to the black board and showed him what it, you know -- >> jobs listened, and won over. was won over and now it's
concern now it's a -- like you said the surface of so many different screens and different marked gadgets. >> they can, they produce in what south carolinaers -- >> kentucky. yeah. so yeah. >> put a good factory in it right, and you know, places didn't have -- you know, it wasn't military what was the -- the people had done before. >> farming. backhoe teelds are nearby. >> got to be declining industry. right? >> i would hope so. but it's yeah it's -- rural area with this high-tech if they kind of incredible process of, you know -- of getting this superstrong glass made many this secret plant in kentucky. cool. >> you, i mean, steve jobs you compare at one point to alex and
thomas edison, how so? >> well, both were, you know, all three of those men were -- incredible innovators clearly but they were also incredible self-promoters and they were incredible marketers. within of my favorite stories about belle or one of the most useful stories to know is that before, you know, the telephone took off you know he had to sell this thing and people regarded it as a novelty this toy -- and he would come to conventions and he would, you know, do common installation and he would start kind of getting like jobs like, you know, lectures about what it could do and present this stuff and slowly but surely he was selling like doing tech demos which are part of, you know -- apple's yoin mythology --
and same with edison. you know edison was a smart guy. great invent tore but host to giant team whose names are all but lost to history to most people other than historian of technology and the like but people who sort of really did the -- you know, brutal work the trial and error getting the exact right you know filament work in lightbulb because that lightbulb is a lot like iphone and on the market when edison came out with his but wrnght out yet but edison found combination of the glow that would broadcast the light that everybody liked that was pleasing. with like an ease of use and longevity to turned it into a useful intuitive product he he wupght the fist or necessarily the one who invented for how lightbulb technology worked but introduced it to masses thanks to a large team working behind
him largely invisible much like the iphone chain worked. >> where did you -- come out on the nature of the creative process is it -- played out within apple because, you know -- this size of this. but you have -- picture this, you know, you have months of work can be done so there's that aspect. other aspect as you mentioned, open enough so that you could have skunk work projects at a time when they work the wealthy company they became. right, so these were people you kind of -- you know and then there was this constant you have different battles and two different approaches -- to all of this, and -- and it played out it, with these it was in the end that you have the personalities didn't matter. is -- give the kind of sense of how
played out because it is a long story i understand. but you know where you come out on this process? [laughter] one of the interesting they thinks was -- when i started researching it, the theme began to develop pretty quickly that it is all about collaboration and to some extent competition and teams of people, you know, trying ideas and working on them together and developing them. and that really -- the role of like steve jobs would be sort of -- you know, a little not even necessary ultimately, but by the end there's interesting element at play to wield mythology and the socialal that steve jobs is had had as being the powerful decider, ultimate person who could take what was still even though not as big as it was as it is now but it was a large company and still like this is what we're going to do.
>> persistence focus -- like focus, and not giving up on it. because it's -- as you write here late 2004 he say okay it is a phone and it is a touch screen. you know, we're going to make it happen and become and forth after that. but that basically is the direction. and that's -- you know, that's what ceos do. getting big stuff right, and he did to his immense credit he did it get it right when he listened to liewngtses when it mattered and recognized genius of what these guys did and he was able to elevate it when it went mattered. so i really -- you need both. i would actually i would come down more on the side of the team because these guys you know they requester -- it is hard in hindsight this process however it came arranged, however, steve jobs made call and however his team created this technology it
created what i argue is the most successful pruskt all time so that -- this -- this blooper is how it works. generation up from the bottom of the team and so forth and top down or not is the case may be. is it -- i mean, when we have the iphone with no job? i think, you know, there's a chance that we might have -- something like it. i don't know if it would we would have gotten it as soon or if it would be as good or as -- as satisfying or as big of a deal but something that was slowly into existence by various competitors -- it hieb something that we might have had a little hard blackboard button a lot longer. i mean, who's to say it's a -- ultimate history is there's a fun game but hard it is really hard to say. it's what is fair to say is he made the right call when is they mattered and he was able to sort of galvanize trips and loved and
were in awe of working for him so he did push them to sort of make the best thing that they could. >> do you have a favorite -- sort of unsung hero character and, i mean, there's a -- tiny candidates you mentioned back -- arting and -- who somebody calls lennon of interface of design. and there are other who is played higher role and somehow didn't they shared responsibilities with schiller -- do you have a favorite -- kind of is -- among these unsung hero no one knows name of but sort of a representative character that you know had the right stuff and it wayne is a gt example of that. done i think -- still with the company, and yeah. that chapter was important for that reason. yeah, boston and this this
design team everybody knows johnny's name everybody knows johnny he designed these beautiful -- industrial shaped and revolutionized what we expect from our consumer electronic product. but what happened on the screen is just as important and nobody really knows the name of these user interface or human face designers and that whole team say is a really -- is unsung -- team maybe one of the greatest sort of design teams in technology over the last 20 years. greg kristy and ron and the other guy at the team freddy, this whole team was really -- was really, really strurmtal. and now you have these engineer who is also deserve a huge amount l of credit. richard williamson responsible for safari and squeezing it down to fit satisfily on the phone and who did mail.
the list does go on and on. but yeah, yeah, i think and josh on this guy from m.i.t. two engineer who is hacked together these early prototypes. yeah, i'd say there's a dozen or so people who -- really i try to share their stories and give them that due credit. j how many are still there? >> just a couple. just a couple. almost all people who worked on the iphone project, the majorities of them have now have left apple for various reasons. burnout or you know new challenges. but, one of the interesting things is who led who was the -- vp of the -- of the iphone software effort.
who left believed to be fired after the map screw up and for a number of -- executives head butting reasons but no one was elevated to executive rank that worked on the iphone really besides johnny who was there and, you know, always responsible for design is stuff. the people who really were responsible for apple's biggest product. for a while but he left and got this andrej vp he never made it to the top. it's interesting. >> let's talk a little bit about the future in apple which you touch on in the book, and i think artificial intelligence is where everybody focused a great chapter build around tom who was the guy who --
it was cofounder of siri who brought this, a project that the pents gone had funded much before. called klo, and then -- apple bought it, and he -- but this is siri is apple flavor of this. google working on this and amazon got it microsoft has it. ibm has it in terms of individual industry and a professor, so it's this clever assistant. in some way shape or form. where does -- and there's a great debate as this -- evolves now whether, you know, apple coast culture has it or not in this further development but tom is still there. and you talk to him on a boat outside papa new guinea now apple's take. >> so you know it's you can forget now in the age of alexa
and what you're talking about that, you know, apple was kind of first to this arena. siri was the first sort of mainstream a.i. digital assistant. and the emphasis was always kind of on that -- that service that service element, and interesting thing to me about that interview and about hearing about their approach was sort of the effort more to make siri sort of relatable and to be a character someone that you want to interact with unless you know apple criticized a bit for having its functionality fall behind the rest, and for a long time it was relegated to this nolte status where it was -- , you know, not always giving you the right, right answers to stuff. they've really tried to beef it up in recent years and do neuronet approach where you're doing this --
huge amount of machine learning that wasn't what siri originally was. siri was a really sort of -- basically a really complex database full of, you know, you have voice recognition over kind of f.a.q. for different for frequently asked questions for things like a restaurant, you know -- this is a restaurant's direction and you know, definitional questions. >> they have it doing some symbolic reasoning but it was, you know, it hard to get it to e point where it would be -- you know useful all of the time and people do use it all of the time to leave voice memo and like get directions real quick and they're really pushing it now i think forced by competition. but you know, my take on that whole thing was i think that jury is really -- still out on how much we really want a personal assistant on our phones all of the time.
how much you know like alexa is interesting because it is useful to turn on music or order toilet paper by talking to it. but in term was like a device that we want to talk to i think maybe the use cases are a little bit more limited i think do we really want to know you know in public walking down the road like talking to our phone many in any scenario a lot of people do. [laughter] but how far does that go? >> it will be interesting to e see. it's a big, a big money mess one of those sort of buzz words that like -- ism like would break in any direction. neuronet network inspired by brain. architecture at least it becomes possible because big data world. and -- kind of learn as they go. but it's easy to talk about it at the hand waving level and much more difficult to it make it happen but they're hiring a lot of these peel right they've got it shall >> they are and
recently did lift a vail as you said started to allow -- a.i. research rs and apple wasn't getting the betz people because they want to publish. and apple has not allowed that in its sort of r&d lab at all. [laughter] really in the past so that was kind of a big -- a big poem and a lot of people think its competitors have a jump on it now because they left that wall up for too long. >> that was a question with some of these hinges that the device mattered as much as it did. to amazon it is around a device google found itself -- so android devices but open for software now where it gets its money so that's -- that's as to apple an iphone future if we come --
you know -- where's it headed? do you think -- >> well, there's a lot of different ways to think about that. and we've seen some pushes from apple to try to expand its services. it's expanded app store and emphasize apple music, and kind of signals that, you know, its recognizing that it needs to find new sources of revenue. that said two-thirds of its sales are from the iphone so just like any -- >> larger share of its profits. yeah. yeah. yeah i think i misspoke a profit calling from iphone everything else is sliver. i've had a shrinking mac, macs are small its services -- which by the way, one analyst put it to me to put it in perspective you know amount of money the revenue that a little app store takes is the size of hollywood the year that they take in.
but next to the iphone it looks like just a little tiny slice of pie. >> let's tack revenue which it takes cutoff. when it take a cut of 30% of every app sold but also bsh it takes a lot to maintain that infrastructure servers, vetting these apps you know the whole -- so it's how much profit it is making yet is another question altogether. but apple is a real motivation to kind of maintain its status quo to keep making -- you know, better phone slightly iterated phone, well designed phone more expensive phone maybe rumor of a u thousand dollar plus iphone 8 coming this -- this fall which is hundreds of dollars more than so you know, i think, you know, as much as apple has seen as this -- hub of innovation and as much as it has gotten criticized for stalling out on that under tim cook tenure it really --
has this motivation to milk its cash cow. they establish product license so reliable so i think the iphone basic shape of the iphone -- and this model of tightly integrated its software with shape is -- here to stay for a while i wouldn't be surprised if ten years we still have something that looks very much like the iphone we have in our pockets now. in our pockets then. >> thank you brian appreciate it. >> sure. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. booktv records hundreds of author programs throughout the country all year long and here
is a look at some of the events we're covering this week. monday, we're at politics and prose bookstore here in washington, d.c. to hear from pormer staff writer are and editor for national geographic line barry recalls african-american captain of a u.s. army ship. also that evening will be in new york at the brookln park whose book is biography of the builder of the brooklyn bridge. on wednesday, we're back here in washington at busboys and poets where georgetown university louisiana professor paul butler will argue what statistics are influencing racial injustice and policing americans. also that evening will be at cover bookstore in denver, where radio broadcaster and journalist david barron reports on american smis who is studied the solar eclipse of 1878. and saturday will be become at politics and pros to hear historian willard randall recall how united states used war of 1812 to become financially
independent from great britain that's a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week many of these events are open to the public and air on booktvs at c-span2. >> goorchl and welcome to the new nixon library. i'm bill, president of the richard nixon foundation. honored to have president counsel members and a presence counsel member who is joining us today. shelly buchanan. [applause] shelly actually started working to richard nixon before pat did. has that ever been pointed out?